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Comment Maybe VR would work better? (Score 1) 81

I hate to be the guy who suggests that the US military spend yet more taxpayer dollars on the "next new thing", but perhaps some of their problems could be addresses by replacing their current simulators with VR headsets and PCs?

Their current approach seems to be largely the "cave" approach, where the trainee sits inside a room by himself and images are projected on the walls around him. That's fine as far as it goes, but doing it that is by its nature expensive and takes a lot of space, which means not very many people can be using the simulator at once, which limits the military's ability to train groups of trainees how to co-ordinate their behavior with each other.

Replace that with a networked gaming PC and an Oculus Rift (or similar) for each trainee, and I think you could provide a similarly immersive experience to a lot more people simultaneously, for about the same price.

Comment Re:So much for Apple's "better design" (Score 1) 211

Well, I'll be the counter-anecdote, then. When I bought my iPhone6+, after about two weeks it started to compulsively touch itself. For example, I could be looking at a Google Map (not doing anything, just looking at the phone while it sat on the table), and suddenly the map would spontaneously scroll from my location in LA to somewhere in Utah, all on its own; as if it had received a touch event somewhere way off the edge of the screen. Similar strange spontaneous behaviors would occur in all other apps (and even on the "Desktop") at random times, every few minutes, and it was enough to drive anyone crazy.

I took the onanistic iPhone6+ back to the Apple store back for a replacement, and so far the replacement has had no problems (knock on wood).

Comment Re:Good luck (Score 1) 183

Politicians are always the same. All they do is appeal to whatever they see as the current mentality that will get them (re)elected.

There's a name for politicians that don't do that -- they are called "non-politicians". You don't get to govern if you can't get into (or stay in) office.

There's a clear Darwinian-style process at work there.

Comment Re:I love DSL (Score 1) 141

I think it depends on whose DSL you are using. My mom was paying $95/month for phone+DSL that was slow when it worked, and often didn't work at all. When she complained, AT&T reduced her monthly bill to make up for the poor performance, but even then she was paying $75/month for phone+Internet service that was inadequate and painful to use.

Eventually we switched her Internet and phone lines over to cable (Comcast), and now she is much happier, can stream video reliably, doesn't call me up regularly to ask why her computer "isn't working" today.... and is paying less than before.

TL;DR: service quality depends a lot on which neighborhood you live in.

Comment Re:Incomplete title... (Score 4, Informative) 399

>No one wants Trump or Hilary,

This is demonstrably wrong.

... plus even if it was true, most people would still vote for one of those two candidates, because the anti-Trump people really don't want to see Trump in office, and the anti-Hillary people really don't want to see Hillary in office. In those circumstances, very few of them will be willing to effectively annul their influence on the election by throwing their vote away on a third-party candidate who isn't going to win anyway.

Now if we had a third-party candidate who was polling competitively with the two first-party candidates, or if we had a voting system that didn't suffer significantly from the spoiler effect, things might be different. But we don't, so they aren't.

Comment Re:What a joke... (Score 1) 113

I can get in my 8000lb truck and drive 600+ miles before needing to refuel... and I can stop at nearly any fuel station to fill her up with 30+ gallons in 2-3 minutes(diesel pumps tend to be MUCH faster than gas pumps).

All very true, and a definite advantage for fuel-powered cars over battery-powered cars, in scenarios involving long-distance travel.

However, most people do not drive 600 miles at a stretch, so for them, there is not much advantage in being theoretically able to do so.

Just like with cell phones, as long as the car's battery can reliably last you until you're ready to plug in for the night and go to sleep, that's good enough. It will be fully charged again in the morning; any capacity above that is gravy.

Comment Re:how much is needed? (Score 1) 254

They could be properly maintained during this part of the life cycle, but does anybody seriously think they will be? The cost/benefit for these batteries implies keeping costs low. There will be scrap batteries over the place being squeezed into use until they are completely depleted, meaning there will be lots of batteries not being properly maintained.

If battery maintenance turns out to be a problem (and it's not clear that it actually will be; what sort of maintenance, exactly, would these batteries require?), it seems like it would be easy enough to deal with: Add a $X deposit to the batteries' purchase price, and pay the deposit out when they are recycled. Et voila, now there's an economic incentive to properly recycle any battery old enough to be worth less than $X, rather than just letting it sit until it's worthless junk.

We've dealt with this problem before (e.g. for 12V lead-acid automobile-starter batteries); solutions are known.

Comment Re:Its a continuation (Score 1) 254

*The world's next energy revolution is always more than five or ten years away.*

The trick is to put yourself into suspended animation (or go off-grid on a desert island) for 5-10 years. That way, when you come back, you'll appreciate everything that has changed while you were away.

If you keep up with every days' minor incremental progress, it's easy to lose sight of the overall progress that the increments have added up to.

Comment Re:Holy shitballs, all the sci-fi books were right (Score 1) 344

who really wants to have a nuclear reactor going up in the air, something goes wrong and the US will be turned to dust and be inhabitable for 1000 years.

I don't claim to be a nuclear scientist, but I'm pretty sure that even in the worst-case scenario that would not happen.

Comment Re:We were hacked, honest (Score 1) 117

Now I don't run Apple's OS X or Microsoft's Windows OS so it's not like I am taking a big risk here.

Not to disagree, but perhaps your biggest security advantage is that the hackers of the world have no particular reason to suspect there is a significant profit to be gained by hacking your (as far as anyone knows) random computer.

The computers at SomeWellKnownBitcoinExchange.com, OTOH, are assumed to be holding large amounts of bitcoin, since they need to do so in order to fill their function, and thus they are going to be hacker magnets 24/7/365. And all it takes is one security hole (or dishonest employee), and presto, it's game over...

Comment Re:I suppose this makes sense (Score 0) 246

It makes a lot of sense, if you want to avoid people having to manually determine on a case-by-case basis whether each and every text containing a gun-emoji was intended to be a death threat, or not.

Yes, it's possible to manually categorize in most cases using context, but how many false-positive ("local teen arrested for after his innocent tweet was misinterpreted as a threat") and false-negative ("mass killer had been sending out emoji threats for a week, but people thought they were jokes") fiascos do we want to deal with every week?

By replacing the gun-emoji with a water-gun emoji, the intended meaning is clearer -- and if you actually want to send someone a death threat, you'll have to type it out in words (e.g. "I am going to shoot you").

Comment Re:Maybe Solar City won't be scammy and vague now? (Score 5, Insightful) 80

It takes 3 or 4 phone calls, and some "do not disclose" paperwork in order to find out that you won't save any money, and you won't own anything.

Our condo building's HOA has been saving about $300/month for the last 5 years via a SolarCity PPA.

It's true we don't (and won't) own anything, but for us that is a benefit -- that means that if something breaks, we're not on the hook to fix it. If the system ever goes down, it's SolarCity who loses money until it gets fixed, not us (since we pay per kWh generated, not per month). Since nobody on the HOA board is an electrician or technically minded, the zero-responsibility-for-maintenance aspect is important.

The upshot is: $300/month savings on our power bill, with no risk to us, and no money out of the HOA's pocket, ever. The only thing we had to give up was some space on our roof, which wasn't being used for anything anyway.

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